Old Mutual

budgeting blues – have you
costed your exhibition participation correctly?

You’ve done your research, allocated your marketing spend to the right channels and now the planning begins. First up is your exhibition stand for this years planned expo/s. Excellent choice! Marketing research shows that when it comes to “engagement”, exhibitions really do deliver the genuine results. They are an experiential marketing tool that engages in a face-to-face environment.

Budgeting Blues Exhibitor

It’s essential that you set your objectives for exhibiting from the beginning. You can get an excellent ROI from an exhibition, but you have to plan and budget correctly in order to reap the benefits.

So let’s look at the basic costs to start with:

1. The cost of the floor space

  1. Is this a full package price OR
  2. Is it space only

The two are vastly different in price and delivery and it is essential that you understand what you are paying for or you will be very unhappy and unprepared when you get on site.

2. Your exhibition stand

  1. Is it a custom build stand OR
  2. Are you planning and designing the stand yourself

If you are using a specialized design company to design your stand, they will present you with drawings and specifications and a budget of costs, so you’ll know what you’re in for.

If you are designing the stand yourself, plan in advance. The more prepared you are, the less room for error (or spending). Wallpaper, paint, textiles, flowers, plants, accessories – ensure that these are all part and parcel of your overall look and feel and that your stand correctly portrays your brand.

By having a plan and a budget you are less likely to be rushing out constantly during build-up for more “props” to cheer up a rather dull portrayal of your business. If you suddenly realise that you are going to have to work through the night to come up with something half decent to compete with the other exhibitors, chances are you won’t.

3. Transport costs

This list can be long and varied:

  1. Do you require travelling to the expo by car / air / train /
  2. Do your goods needs to be transported
  3. How are your staff going to get to the expo every day
  4. Is breakdown on a Sunday and therefore you need to hire an overtime crew

4. Accommodation and Food Costs

  1. Do you need to stay overnight
  2. How many rooms do you need
  3. Is it a bed and breakfast rate
  4. Are you paying food allowances at the expo
  5. Dinner costs

5. Advertising and Marketing

It’s always a good start to let your current clients know where you’re going to be exhibiting.  You can do this via your already tried and tested marketing channels.  But at the expo, how are you going to attract new customers?  You don’t have to fall into the trap of expensive brochures and giveaways, but you do need to (a) get their details so you can follow up after the expo and (b) give the serious contenders something to take away with them so that they can make contact with you.

The list is endless on where you can spend your money, it’s just up to you as to how much budget you want to put to it.

  1. Expo visitor guide adverts
  2. Brochures
  3. Magazines and other print media
  4. Online adverts
  5. Competitions at the expo (can be a great ROI)
  6. Quirky and fun giveaways

There is no need to be overwhelmed at the thought of participating at an exhibition. It’s a great networking environment where you can share ideas and advice and even team up with other like-minded professional who you’d like to work with.

But, by being fully prepared from the outset, you will set yourself up for the ultimate success – meeting hundreds of new clients and getting a great return on investment.


So what are you waiting for?

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